Early starts, baby four-year-olds and getting out to national shows


I’m sat in the lorry hiding from the rain at Rectory Farm as I write this.

We’ve had a few days at home this week but it has turned out to be very busy with a visit from the farrier and last Friday I had to get up at the crack of dawn to go and try a horse at Weston Lawns.

The alarm went off at 4am (ugh) and I arrived at the show before 7am to walk the course for the four-year-olds. I rode Lucy Struthers’ exciting four-year-old that has now been bought by Darragh Magner and was finished and away by 8!

I went off in the lorry to John and Laura Renwick’s on Tuesday to collect the horses competing at the Young Championships at Bolesworth.

Normally on a visit to the Renwicks I’d take two or three horses for training if they need a jump, especially over a course at a different place. John is brilliant, he really gets me riding forward and to trust myself more – I can come around the corner and believe in myself to go on the stride I have.

But this time I just picked up the horses and went straight to a show at Codham Park to give those jumping at Bolesworth a run out. I hadn’t sat on Paratheos Optimus since Portugal at the beginning of March and I thought I’d better get him out to a show. He’s a very exciting five-year-old and jumped a lovely double clear in his first Foxhunter so I was pleased. I’m really looking forward to getting a few of them out to Bolesworth and it was great to get out to a national show and jump up to 1.40m.

Wednesday consisted of some light hacking and one of the four-year-olds got in a bit of pole-work and popped round a course before the first show at Rectory Farm. He’s my second home-bred and I wasn’t sure what he’d do but he happily jumped round for four faults.

My sister Beth has ventured out to Rectory Farm with me so we can get all the horses out to a show this week. Rectory Farm is a lovely show about one and a half hours from me – well organised, well run with a nice ring, nice courses and lovely, friendly people.

We’ve got an easy day coming up on Friday and I’m hoping my entries for Chard are accepted so we can get out again – I’m on the waiting list!

Photos courtesy Beth Mantel

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